Gatlinburg has a reputation as a popular romantic getaway for newlyweds, but you don’t have to be a young couple just starting your new life together to take full advantage of what it has to offer. This charming town and the surrounding Smoky Mountains are an ideal getaway option for families of all sizes and age ranges. Whether your family wants to experience nature, theme parks, good food, outdoor sports or indoor attractions, Gatlinburg has what it takes to meet your family’s needs. Below are just a few suggestions out of the many things to do in Gatlinburg with kids.
Easy Hikes and Nature Walks
One of the biggest draws for visitors of all ages who come to Gatlinburg is the prospect of connecting with nature. This connection with nature isn’t limited to adults, either. Your visit to Gatlinburg is an irreplaceable opportunity to foment within your children a love of the great outdoors. The best part is that you don’t have to be experienced hikers to enjoy the wildlife since Great Smoky National Park offers a number of easier hikes ideal for all families, even those with smaller children (http://gatlinburg-hotel.com/smoky-mountains-hiking/).
These hikes—from mountains to coves to waterfalls—present an amazing chance to get your children involved in an active lifestyle and teach them about the plants and wildlife in the area. They will certainly feel proud of themselves for completing a real hike and will enjoy watching out for animals they don’t get to see in your hometown.
If you have any horse lovers in your family, then another great outdoor option is horseback riding. Horseback riding is a great way to enjoy the natural beauty of the Smokies while your new four-legged friend puts in all the work for you. Additionally, horseback riding can be both relaxing and therapeutic.
This is a family activity that can be tailored to each rider’s skill level, comfort, and size. More experienced riders can opt for an independent ride and choose advanced trails, while younger and less experienced riders can select easier guided trail rides. Newbies can also make sure that they are paired with the gentlest, most patient horses, and some stables even offer pony rides so that everyone—including the youngest members of your family—can join in on the fun.
Another option for things to do in Gatlinburg with kids is a theme park. One popular attraction is Dollywood. There is no shortage of things to do in this theme park—it boasts rides, roller coasters, shows, different festivals throughout the year, restaurants, souvenir shopping, handicrafts, and zip lining. You can easily spend at least a full day inside Dollywood’s theme park!
During the warmer months. your family can also spend the day in Dollywood’s water park. This water park is great for all ages, as it has fast-paced slides for the older thrill seekers in your family as well as kids-only zones safe for the younger ones in your family. The best part is that no matter where you are in Dollywood, you are still in the heart of the beautiful Smoky Mountains.
Another popular park with options for the whole family is Ober Gatlinburg. Visitors can get to the park by taking the Aerial Tramway, a cable car that departs from downtown Gatlinburg and travels directly to Ober Gatlinburg. The journey is 2.1 miles long and provides some of the most beautiful views of the park and the mountains themselves.
Inside the park, visitors can get up close and personal with Gatlinburg’s local wildlife by visiting the Wildlife Encounter zoo. For a more on-the-ground view of the park, you can ride the Ski Mountain Coaster. Unlike regular roller coasters, riders have the option to control their speed, making it appropriate for all ages (as long as they are accompanied by a responsible adult, of course).
This park’s main appeal, however, are the winter attractions. During the colder months, visitors can take advantage of winter sports such as snow tubing, skiing, and snowboarding. And don’t worry, there is also a kid’s zone just for little kids so that all members of your family can safely have fun in the snow.
Museums and Zoos
If you and your family find that you need to take a break from outdoor adventures, you will also find plenty of fun and educational activities in and around the city itself. Some of the most popular attractions inside the city are the museums. In the Guinness World Records Museum, your kids can learn all about the most incredible people and objects around the world. If that isn’t incredible enough, experience the downright odd and unbelievable at the Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Odditorium. At the Hollywood Wax Museum, your family can come face to face with your favorite celebrities. For the animal lovers in your family, you can also pay a visit to the Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies or the RainForest Adventures Discovery Zoo.
Who doesn’t love mini golf? This ever-popular pastime is also a popular tourist attraction around Gatlinburg, though the most famous course would have to be Ripley’s Davey Crockett Mini Golf. This mini golf course features animatronic animals and courses that range in difficulty. The ever-present Smoky Mountains also serve as a stunning backdrop to your day of fun and games.
The Space Needle
One final activity that you should do with your kids of all ages while in Gatlinburg is visit the Space Needle, the tallest man-made attraction in town. You can ride the elevator up to the top of this 407-feet observation tower to get an unparalleled 360-degree view of the Great Smoky Mountains.
As you can see, you and your family have plenty of fun things to do in Gatlinburg with kids. Visiting Gatlinburg is an unforgettable experience that your whole family will enjoy.